Hal walked into the Central Processing Room of Project Quantum Loop. “Any news?” he asked.
Sushi, the head programmer, stood up from behind the centre dais. “Dr. Geeks was looking for you earlier,” he replied. “That Katho guy in the fating room asked for some punched cards to toy with, and she doesn’t think he’s playing with a full deck.”
Hal nodded. “Well, I’m still trying to convince the nozzles who want to shut us down that we could fix Y2K better than their aliens.”
“As long as I don’t have to interface with all the infected computers,” the omnipresent BigE reminded. “It would cause hard wear.”
Hal nodded. “I’m currently working on just the right angle for my next presentation.”
“Then will things get back to normal?” Sushi mused.
“It may result in some basis of normality,” Hal shrugged. “So, anything else I should know before I see Sham?”
“The only people still reading this column are the ones looking for the occasional mathematical number theory,” BigE offered.
Hal blinked. “BigE, sometimes your statements don’t make a heap of sense,” he accused.
“This from someone in a lime green tinted suit. My processes have better threads than you, Admiral.”
Hal frowned, while Sushi patted a console, consolingly. “There, there. We’ll get to the root of this,” he assured.
Just then, Drawna WeeBTree entered the room. “Hal! How’s Sham?” she inquired.
“Haven’t checked on him yet, but I’m sure he’s doing fine,” Hal said with confidence.
Drawna nodded. “Xina was telling me that this looked like an easier loop.”
“Awk!” muttered Sushi, having gone back to his calculations. “Well, debugging this Y2K isn’t easy – I’m starting to think someone planned all this two-digit-bug business from the start.”
“I’m sure you’ll pull through when the chips are down,” Drawna comforted.
“Anyway, I’m off to the imagine chamber,” Hal declared. He grabbed his TI-85 and headed up the appropriate slope. Hal arrived holographically back in the 1960s shortly after, where he found Sham computing an inverse in verse. “Hey, Sham, how go the Harshad numbers?” Hal intoned.
Sham paused in his singing. “I decided that a number divisible by the sum of its own digits wouldn’t work for the mapping,” Sham responded. “But I think everything is finally in place now.”
Hal peered down at the schematics. “Sham, this floor labelling makes no sense,” he protested. “You’ve even labelled the potential elevators on each floor. 1101, 2079, 3093, 4115, 5220, 6312… where’s the pattern in that?”
“They all sum to numbers divisible by 3, except 4115.”
Hal tapped at the calculator in his hands. “Sham, no one figures this encoding out. There’s still the space problem in Mizuloo. Maybe you need to apply a mapping using the lucky numbers.”
Sham paused. “How do you define those again?” he inquired.
Can Sham still save the day? Are lucky numbers important? Do you feel lucky? Then keep reading when this series next continues…
–Greg “hologrami” Taylor
[Happy New Year 2022! I still chuckle at ‘My processes have better threads than you, Admiral.’ Yes, we needed a scene set in the far future of 2000 to see the Drawna character. For those who don’t know, we now have the following Quantum Leap (Quantum Loop) name associations: SAM BECKETT (Sham Breakit); AL CALAVICCI (Al Calalilli); ZIGGY (BigE); TINA MARTINEZ (Xina); DR. “GOOSHIE” GUSHMAN (Sushi); DR. VERBENA BEEKS (Dr. Geeks); DR. DONNA ELEESE (Drawna WeeBTree). If you’re puzzled about Calalilli that’s a self-referential joke for hardcore Leap fans. Make sense?]